Grand Canyon urges caution during elk calving season
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - With elk calving season quickly approaching, Grand Canyon National Park has issued a word of caution to the community.
“(Elk) mothers are extremely protective and will charge you even if you don’t see the newborn in the area,” said Grand Canyon Deputy Superintendent Brian Drapeaux at a recent stakeholder meeting. “If you observe a cow elk acting differently, like looking at you or walking toward you, give her a very wide berth”.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), a pregnant cow, or female elk, will often leave their herd to find a quiet, safe place to calve. The calving spot could be far away from developed areas or very near residences or trails.
Drapeaux urged the community to be cautious during elk calving season, which lasts from May to the end of June.
In Grand Canyon, it is illegal to approach or feed wildlife.
According to the NPS, approaching wildlife may cause stress to them and interfere with their ability to survive in the wild.
Additionally, elk are one of the most dangerous animals in Grand Canyon, according to NPS. While they are not normally aggressive, they will defend themselves if people get too close
Some tips to follow during elk calving season include the following:
• Always keep your distance — use the “rule of thumb.” A safe distance is measured by holding up your thumb and closing one eye. You should be able to completely “cover” the animal with your thumb.
• Never get between a cow and a calf elk.
• If you find a calf alone, leave it alone. The cow is probably close by.
If you or another individual is in an unsafe wildlife situation, call NPS Dispatch at (928) 638-7805.
More information about viewing elk safely is available at www.nps.gov/grca/learn/nature/elk-danger.
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